Canada Basketball general manager and former Olympian Rowan Barrett Sr. is proud of his son’s growth throughout his first four seasons in the NBA since the New York Knicks drafted RJ Barrett as the No. 3 pick.
“He’s put on some weight to be able to take the rigors, and also, the city you’re playing can impact what’s happening like New York is not an easy market,” Barrett Sr. told Sportsnet Canada’s Arash Madani.
“They’ll get at you. So, his resilience is one I’m very proud of as a father, like ‘no matter what you’re throwing at me, I’m gonna keep coming at you.’ I like that,” Barrett Sr. continued.
Barrett’s growth in the NBA has not been linear. He’s had his share of ups and downs navigating his rookie season with a lottery Knicks team and then becoming a second option of a young playoff team to sliding down to third banana after Jalen Brunson‘s arrival last summer.
His outside shooting and defense were like the stock market trending up and down. But overall, he’s shown promise as a bully-ball driver with his prime years still ahead of him.
“I feel good about what I’m seeing with him. I think he’s still young. And I think there’s still growth to be made. And I like that he’s not satisfied,” Barrett Sr. said of his son.
The Knicks starting wing’s self-awareness is what inspires confidence among the Knicks brass that he has yet to reach his ceiling.
“Just working every day trying to get better,” Barrett told Madani when asked about where he is now in his career’s trajectory. “I’ve got some experience under my belt (two NBA playoffs and two stints with Canada at the senior level).”
“So, it’s funny because, like, I forget that I’m just still 23. So I’m still really young, but like, I’ve been able to have these experiences and having them early just helps me to know what I need to work on and I kind of know who I am,” he added.
Like Father, Like Son
Barrett and Canada danced their way to scoring a massive upset over Spain, the ousted 2019 FIBA World Cup champion, and punched their ticket to the Paris Olympics next year and caught the final bus to the 2023 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals.
Barrett was in a celebratory dance mood after scoring 16 points in their dramatic come-from-behind 88-85 victory on Sunday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“We’re going to the Olympics baby! Man, that’s crazy,” Barrett told reporters after scoring the massive upset against the top-ranked Spain.
“I told my dad I was gonna get this,” said Barrett, referring to the Olympics berth. “Yeah, I’m happy! Let’s go!”
It was a full circle moment for the Barretts as his Rowan Sr. was on the last Canadian team in the Olympics in 2000.
Rokas Jokubaitis Looks NBA-Ready
Knicks’ stashed pick Rokas Jokubaitis has been impressive in the World Cup even after they bowed out of medal contention with a disappointing 87-68 loss to Serbia on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old Jokubaitis had 13 points and a game-high nine assists, his personal best in the tournament, in a losing effort. He looks to be NBA-ready as he’s averaging 12.8 points and a team-leading 6.2 assists in the tournament, with one more game left to play against the loser of the Canada-Slovenia quarterfinal match.